The 2015 Exclusive Malts are upon us and just in time for the weather to change and life to start slowing down before it speeds up for the Holidays. No better time than now to release a bunch of whisky that will be great for sharing with friends and family, serve as amazing gifts or used as a tasty anesthetic to help get yourself through the festive mess that will be quickly descending upon us.
Each release name below links out to either K&L or Whisky Shop USA. Not because I’m getting paid to talk about these (I’m not…) but because I know they have them in stock and I know how much of a pain it can be to read about something, want to try it and then be unable to find it so I hope that helps.
Glen Garioch 19 Year Old Exclusive Malts
Price: $150 ABV: 56.3% ex-Rum Cask
- Nose: Malty, fruity, vanilla rich aroma with notes of earth, graham, dark toffee rich sweetness, a touch of sulfur and a hint of something bitter / sour / alkaline.
- Palate: Malty, fruity, vanilla and earthen followed by notes of hay, spice, dried red berries, dark sweets and that same hint of something bitter / sour / alkaline.
- Finish: Long -> Malt, dark sweets and a light bit of fruit and that bitter / sour / alkaline character.
- Overall: (81) This one is weird and different and usually I like that, but it didn’t come together for me. I can definitely see where others might, and can name a few folks I think will like it, it’s just not the one for me. Though if you’re looking for something to take to upcoming holiday parties that no one else will have a rum cask finished Scotch will fit the bill nicely.
Allt-A-Bhainne 22 Year Old Exclusive Malts
Price: $160 ABV: 50.7% Refill Hogshead
- Nose: Honey, banana heavy tropical fruit, vanilla, graham, malt, dried fruit and a touch floral.
- Palate: Malt, vanilla, cinnamon, hay, toasted sugar, toasted citrus peel and a light earthen touch. A nice flavor overall.
- Finish: Medium -> Crisp orchard fruit, light malt and caramel.
- Overall: (86) If the finish had been a bit longer and fuller I would have pegged it a bit higher, but that’s my only real misgiving. A fine, semi-rare, dram to share with family and friends.
Glen Keith 19 Year Old Exclusive
Price: $155 ABV: 50.1% Refill Hogshead
- Nose: Buttery complex fruit, earthy malt, vanilla cream pie, creamy dark sweets and a a touch of something I can only describe as sweetened condensed milk.
- Palate: Buttery fruit, malt, toffee rich creamy dark fruit, graham cracker pie crust and a touch of citrus peel.
- Finish: Long -> Fruity with notes of earth, red licorice, graham cracker pie crust and creamy sweetness.
- Overall: (91) Glen Keith was silent from ’99 – ’13 and the whisky that’s been quietly sitting in its warehouse appears to have been aging nicely. Very tasty.
Deanston 17 Year Old Exclusive Malts
Price: $160 ABV: 52.3%
- Nose: Malty and fruity with nice notes of citrus custard, vanilla cream and a touch of wood. A light tangy note of sour cream hangs in the back adding dimension.
- Palate: Malty and fruity with nice notes of citrus custard, vanilla cream and a touch of wood and spice. A light sweet and tangy note of pineapple soda hangs low initially, but pops up towards the end.
- Finish: Long -> Malt, vanilla, spice and pineapple soda.
- Overall: (86) An interesting single cask release from the relatively young distillery (opened late ’66) and NDP releases aren’t exactly spilling off the shelves so if you’re looking for something else that’s unique for the holidays here you go.
Ben Nevis 17 Year Old Exclusive Malts
Price: $140 ABV: 51.1% Refill Sherry Butt
- Nose: Rich buttery aroma that carries notes of fruit, malt, honey, spice, sweet cream, a bit of citrus and a light candy sweetness.
- Palate: That rich buttery aroma transitions nicely to the palate carrying notes of orchard fruit, honey, spice, sweet cream, a bit of citrus and a light malty sweetness.
- Finish: Long -> Orchard fruit, banana, malt, toffee and vanilla.
- Overall: (92) This Ben Nevis is my favorite of the Fall 2015 Exclusive Malts releases. It’s just an all around fantastic whisky and it just so happens to be one of the “cheaper” ones of the bunch.
Cambus 26 Year Old Exclusive Malts
Price: $180 ABV: 48.1%
- Nose: Grain, butterscotch, caramel, stale bread, spice, touch of dried fruit, nuts and a plastic note that’s light enough to not distract, but still make you notice.
- Palate: Caramel heavy dark sweet syrup, toasted grain, oily nuts, malty sweetness, spice and a light vanilla custard.
- Finish: Long -> Grainy sweetness, light spice and a nutty overtone.
- Overall: (88) The more grain whisky I drink the more I like it and this Cambus is no exception, however it’s going to get harder and harder to find. Cambus was closed in 1996 so stocks are not only getting older, but getting scarcer and pricier.
Bruichladdich 11 Year Exclusive
Price: $110 ABV: 55.6%
- Nose: Malt, orchard fruit, vanilla cream, light spice, graham crackers and creme brûlée.
- Palate: Orchard fruit, banana, malt, vanilla, spice and some darker earthier hints come along with a light note of grilled fruit and a touch of dry wood.
- Finish: Long -> Fruit, vanilla and malt.
- Overall: (87) Distilled before the Remy acquisition this is a nice example of a good ‘Laddie. There aren’t any single casks on the market yet of whisky distilled under Remy control, but it will be interesting to see how they compare in the future.
Irish Whiskey 13 Year Old Exclusive Malt
Price: $145 ABV: 52.2%
- Nose: Malty sweet with big notes of apples and bananas, vanilla custard, citrus and grass. Lighter notes of spice, dried fruit and a creamy sweetness come along for the ride as well.
- Palate: Apples, honey, vanilla, bananas, malt, dark sweets, spice and a rich sweetness move through thickly with a nice balance.
- Finish: Long -> Fruit, vanilla, graham, and a touch of spice
- Overall: (90) A tasty and aromatic 13 year cask strength Irish whiskey? Yes please. This is an Irish whiskey drinker’s dram come true.
Well there you have it. The entire fall 2015 Exclusive Malts line up, and what a line up it is! If you’ve already picked one of these up I’d love to see what you have to say about it / them. Alternatively if you pick one up after reading this I’d also love to see what you grabbed and what you thought about them.